Type 1 Diabetes

Let's Talk About Type 1 Diabetes

This less-common member of the diabetes family packs a mighty big challenge for those who have it. Here's what to know about the autoimmune disorder.

    Our Pro PanelType 1 Diabetes

    We went to some of the nation’s top experts in type 1 diabetes to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Emily Nosova, M.D. headshot.

    Emily Nosova, M.D.Endocrinologist

    Mount Sinai Hospital
    New York, NY
    Stelios Mantis, M.D.

    Stelios Mantis, M.D.Pediatric Endocrinologist

    Rush University Medical Center
    Chicago, IL
    Katherine Araque, M.D.

    Katherine Araque, M.D.Director of Endocrinology

    Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center
    Santa Monica, CA

    Frequently Asked QuestionsType 1 Diabetes

    How are type 1 and type 2 diabetes different?

    Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that stops the pancreas from producing insulin; people with type 1 must take insulin every day. People with type 2 usually make enough insulin, but their bodies don’t use it well. It’s typically treated with diet and exercise, plus oral medications and/or insulin.

    What causes type 1 diabetes?

    There is no single cause of the disease, but multiple factor can increase your odds of getting it. Along with certain genetic mutations, doctors believe that there is usually a trigger—such as exposure to a toxin, or an infection by a virus—that puts the immune system on red alert. Once activated, it starts attacking the pancreas.

    What are the signs of type 1 diabetes?

    Classic symptoms include increased thirst and having to pee a lot. Type 1 diabetes can also cause unexplained weight loss, because your body starts to break down body fat, muscles, and other tissues in order to get the fuel it needs for your brain, heart, and other organs. That can lead to a lower number on the scale.

    How is type 1 diabetes treated?

    Typically, you’ll need to monitor your blood glucose levels several times a day and take insulin in order to keep blood sugar levels from getting too high. There are different types of insulin, from rapid-acting to long-acting. The type you take will depend on several factors, including how quickly your body absorbs insulin and lifestyle habits.

    Sunny Sea Gold

    Sunny Sea Gold


    Sunny is a health journalist, book author, and essayist living in Portland, OR.